The holiday season always gets interesting for raid teams in WoW. Usually starting right around Thanksgiving and through New Years, raid teams have an ebb and flow which can really screw up progression. The fact that Dragon Soul dropped right after Thanksgiving (holidays and college exams and parties galore) made assembling a regular team challenging. Throw in new game releases and general burnout and you have a recipe for possible disaster.
I moved to a new realm and new raid team not long before 4.3 hit. I swapped my main spec from tanking to healing and up’d my raid size from 10s to 25s. I got to score some Heroic kills in Firelands before stepping foot into Dragon Soul. I spent a couple weeks healing the fights, fine tuning my play style and figuring out how to be most beneficial to our raid team.
On the side, I stepped into LFR to get my tanking fix and grabbed a good amount of loot along the way (at this time, 6 pieces of my gear is from LFR). When I was tasked with tanking for the impending Christmas holiday, I was ecstatic (remember, deep down I will always be Prot). Our bigger challenge: a reduced heal team and lack of DPS attendance. So we downsized to 10s. Well, a 10. Our first week was rocky–we didn’t have a great comp and Gunship proved to be our demise the first night. Since we couldn’t improve on the comp on the second night, I hauled the team into LFR for a quick clear and called it a week.
Going into this week, my adorable cotank and I decided to set a raid based on the goal of progressing. We explicitly agreed that we wanted Deathwing down this week and we would stop at nothing to make it happen. Some things happened that disrupted our original plans, but we formed up and stepped into Dragon Soul on Tuesday night. And we killed. And we cleared. And suddenly, our wall in 25s was dead. Spine was down and it was only Tuesday night, and our raid time wasn’t even over! We stepped into the Maelstrom and gave Madness a couple attempts, discovering flaws in our plans (watching me get 1-shot until we paused and figured that one out) and deciding that we would return the following night and clean up the raid once and for all.
Wednesday night was plagued with issues. One of our healers got called into work. Another was stuck in traffic due to a car fire on the Interstate. Our rogue couldn’t beat the loading screen boss to get to the Maelstrom. And so we sat. For an hour. Watching as our rogue logged in from various PCs, reforming the raid and zoning in and out, trying get him into the zone. Texting our priest to see his progress down the road. In the end, we swapped our rogue for a Boomkin, pulled in Mal on his Holy Paladin, and rotated out a Resto Druid for our Disc Priest (who did make it home eventually).
And then we pulled. And made it to the 3rd platform. We were consistently hitting the 3rd platform, working out CD usage and positioning. We made it to the 4th platform and all hell broke loose. I hit up Twitter, trying to get a better read on surviving the damage. Tweeps chimed in with pointers, which I took back to the raid team and we coordinated what was going to get blown when on platforms 3 and 4.
And then we were in Phase 2. And we were plowing right along. 5 million, 4 million, 3 million, and then we lost the tanks. And then the remaining add was eating through the remaining team. And then we wiped with Deathwing at 2.9M health.
We zoned back in, knowing that the kill was in our grasp and we all agreed to do it better, simply because we knew we could.
And we engaged. We jumped platforms like champs, used CDs like we were pros, and suddenly, we’re at Phase 2 again, and we’re all alive. Our healers are full on mana. And we lit that fucker up. We chained CDs, we perfected our Bloodlust, and suddenly, there was an achievement flashing across my screen and there were yells and screams in Mumble. And then there was elation. And I closed my eyes, and I took a deep breath and realized that we had done it. We lost not a single player on our kill. We performed flawlessly. We were now the Destroyer’s End.
Congrats to Enveloping Shadows on the defeat of Deathwing. I couldn’t have asked to run with a better and more actively participating team as I did this week. Every member of that raid earned that title. Our cheerleaders in Mumble gave us the support we needed to push to be our best. Without them and their words of encouragement, the kill probably wouldn’t have felt as sweet as it did.
- Souldrinker – Raziel
- Ti’tahk, the Steps of Time – Ursal (given to Svenya with 1 minute remaining on the trade window!)
World of Logs report here.
I was standing in Org, looking at what mats I needed to give my hunter to make Prismatic Elixirs for tonight’s raid and I shit you not, I have the following conversation:
I give Dirt credit, he’s CTC capped with absolutely nothing. But sorry, I’m going to have Mark and a DK buff 99% of the time, and I use my standard concoction Prismatic and Mastery elixirs, so I’m not going to overdo it on the Mastery just so I can stand in town and tell other Paladins that “OMG YOU AREN’T CAPPED.”
But thanks for telling me how to play my class…
EDIT: I added him to my friends list to finish the convo when he decided to sign back on. Here’s what I said: “FWIW, I hit cap through Mark/Horn and Elixir of the Master. I’m actually at 102.43% raid buffed. I don’t bother to aim for cap outside of a raid like you’ve managed to.” I didn’t get a response back (no surprise there).
Hiya WoW Insider readers (again!)…if you didn’t think I was a conceited asshole (based on some of the comments I’ve gotten I seem to think some people missed the “yes, I’m an asshole” line in the post), let me reaffirm my stance with tonight’s LFR screenshot…
Tonight’s LFR fun can be found within this pic:
And yes, I browse my LFR tank’s Armories if I’m laying dead on the ground for whatever reason. I’m not green when it comes to tanking on a Paladin…don’t attempt to bullshit me when I can look at your stats and *know* you aren’t as qualified as you say you are…
“Fucking twat shit talking” did make my night though. I cackled maniacally in Mumble when I read that.
So patch 4.3 dropped about 4 weeks ago and I’ve been mucking around with my guild in the raid two nights a week. On off-nights some of us get together and step into LFR, hoping that our unity and skill can power us through what is admittedly the most painful experience I’ve had since Ret Paladins got buffed in the Pre-Wrath patch and farmed us in BGs.
I’ve stepped into LFR in every role (tanking on Raz, healing on Gabby,and DPSing on Azzy) and each time a little part of me dies inside. I’ve encountered good players, bad players, and everything in between. I’ve referred to LFR as “Looking for Retards” and “Looking for Regrets,” and sadly, they are both still spot on. Let’s discuss why:
You can lead a horse to water…
…but you can’t force them to drink. Welcome to LFR:
- 1/3 of your raid will have a clue
- 1/3 of your raid can’t bother to read mechanics and then dies on everything
- 1/3 of your raid thinks they know what’s going on but in reality they are as lost as the previous 1/3
You have a 50/50 chance of your tanks:
- Actually knowing how to tank
- Having a health pool that isn’t comparable to a plate healer
- Actually knowing the fight
Your goal is to find a tank who has at least 1 of the above skills and has the ability to learn. If you can find a tank with all 3 qualities, sacrifice something to the gods for giving you a lucky day.
You hope that your healers:
- Actually have healing spells bound to keys
- Actually heal the raid and not themselves full time
- Do more than 4000 HPS overall
- Are comprised of at least 3 who will do 80% of the healing, hopefully doing it well enough to carry the rest of the heal team
Your only prayers regarding your DPS team:
- Please out-DPS the tanks
- Please do more than 7K DPS based on the ilvl required to get into the raid
- Can understand simple directions
Sadly, I have experienced each and every one of the things listed above in LFR. I have carried players who can’t out DPS a tank to watch them win tier tokens, or the people who can’t avoid standing in something or attack the right target walk away with loot from Deathwing.
LFR does a great job of allowing people to experience the content, but it rewards mediocrity and asshole behavior.
My Raiding Hang Up
I’m old-school. I won’t lie. I may not have raided in Vanilla, but I kept up a 6-day a week raid schedule through BC only to watch 25s also be opened to 10s teams and more casual play.
I watched people get emo if a boss didn’t die in the first night of attempts. I watched people rage quit if a boss didn’t die in a week of attempts. Yea, I will get frustrated if something won’t die, but I spent a month (if not more) of working on Vashj 3 nights a week before she died. A week is a farking joke to me. Kills usually are delayed because people are perpetuating stupid mistakes, lacking raid awareness or communication skills, or are just downright bad. I benched people for this in BC. I was ruthless in my pursuit of kills, but people were always aware as to why their slot was negated–my team isn’t here to carry you–devote the time to improve your gear, your attitude, and your abilities, and then come talk to me again.
Raiding is business to me, plain and simple. If I see you fuck up repeatedly, I will call you out. I’m aggressive. I’m an asshole. I won’t deny this in the least. I raid to win and to succeed. Outside of raiding, WoW is fun. But in a raid? I’m going to be sometimes coldly professional. The shorter my responses are? The more pissed I am. I’m here for 3 or more hours, don’t waste my time and I won’t waste yours.
There were nights in BC that I would have benched myself because I fucked up. The challenge was that we only ran 2 hunters, and we both needed to be there with Misdirects. In Wrath I would have benched myself when I was tired, but I wasn’t RL and my GM wouldn’t have any of it. In Cata, well, sometimes it’s hard to bench one of the tanks when you only have 2. I’d like to say that I’m a thousand times better as a tank than a healer (usually), so there are nights (looking at you Heroic Alys) where I would have preferred to have been benched when I was performing badly in the healing department.
In a normal raid set, this made sense. You were a good player and thus you got to reap the rewards of your effort. Your dedication to developing yourself to be a dependable raider was highlighted by the shiny epics you earned. The raid finder just gives you the opportunity to go into Dragon Soul, be as good or as bad as you want, and still have an equal chance to roll against everyone else in the raid, no matter if they were better or worse than you were. We’re at the point where we’re now rewarding mediocrity (and in the process leaving out/screwing over the people who DO play their class well but don’t have the time for a dedicated raid team) with shiny, abeit lower ilvl (but who the hell really cares honestly), epics.
Why I LFR
In all honesty, I LFR for the same reason that a guild like Paragon did it. I want to grab pieces that will allow me to perform better for my raid team. Whether or not they are tiny upgrades, there are tier set bonuses and more gem sockets in play, things that I want so that I can push more heals or take more hits. I’m sure there are many raiders who do the same. In fact, until last night, my first pieces of tier on Raz came from LFR. My priest, who I will never raid on as a main, has 2 pieces, and amazingly, my DK picked up 3 on Monday before server resets. I’d like to say that I play each of those classes well in the role I play them in, so I am thrilled to be able to pick up pieces for my effort.
For some, LFR is the only chance they will have at seeing the content, and honestly, I can’t fault them for that. They pay just as much as I do to play this game, and they should have the chance to see all the content that is made.
But that doesn’t mean…
I like grouping with them. The good players, the players who can’t devote the time but stay current on their class and know how to use their abilities, sign me right up. I’m more than willing to explain a fight, to help someone if they want to be helped. This has always been my theory in LFD. I’m not expecting you to out-DPS me in normal heroics. I know that I out-gear you, and I honestly don’t mind carrying you and getting you some loot. This is why I never have an issue tanking for guildies’ alts. It’s something I can do for them and I hope that I get the same back in return.
I had the world’s worst shadow priest in one of my entry level heroics a couple weeks ago. Instead of demeaning him or kicking him from the group, I kept him for the next 3 runs I did. Why? Why not? I needed nothing through there, he wasn’t standing in fire or being an asshole in /p. So he stayed. The jackasses? Don’t worry, I have a /votekick lined up and waiting for you.
But the bad players? There’s a reason I’m in a guild and I run stuff in guild groups. It’s to avoid these players. You know, the ones who stand in fire, the ones who talk back, the ones who wait for a rez while everyone runs back. The players who are only there to grief the rest of the group.
Unfortunately, LFR dumps those good players who want to see the content in with the bad players who have no other plans but to make 24 other people’s lives miserable.
Improving LFR to Improve the Player
Why reward mediocrity? We see it today in the rearing of children–everyone has to be a winner. Everyone needs a participation ribbon. In my mind, it devalues the achievements of others who put forth the effort to be the best at what they do.
I know that Blizzard has admitted that there are some fallacies with the current configuration of LFR and I know that they are trying to improve it. So far they’ve set restrictions on some of the items (though if I recall correctly there were some BiS type items that now some classes can’t get out of LFR because it wasn’t locked to their class–I think it was a weapons and warriors thing), and have stated that they want it to be even more specific, as in, a Ret Paladin can’t roll and win a 1H sword off Deathwing (seen it happen).
The first step is admitting that you have a problem, and Blizzard has done that–and I applaud them for their honesty in saying that the design of LFR is a work-in-progress. But what are other ways we can improve it?
Setting a Performance Check
Right now, in order to get into LFR, you need to have an ilvl of at least 372. We don’t care if it’s equipped, we don’t care if it’s even your armor type, we don’t care if it’s PvP gear. If you have an overall ilvl of 372, you can go play in LFR. So we have this nebulous “gear check.” There’s so many ways to game the system, that people forget why it’s in place.
Only once have I had an LFR where every single DPS was above me as a tank. Half the DPS were guild mates, and the other have were quality PuGgers that we picked up in the LFR system. I’ve seen DPS as low as 7K, and I’ve seen them win loot over someone who did 30K. Does this frustrate me? Hell yes it does. There’s 2 sides to the coin though; with the loot win, could the 7K DPS improve themselves to be a valuable contributor to the raid? Or do you reward the person who has a solid grasp of their class and is basically carrying other members of the raid? I can see both sides of it. On Raz, I feel like I’m carrying because I know the correct way to handle the boss mechanics; I go in and deliver a smooth run. On my priest, I feel like I deserve the tokens and loot because it will make me a better player (Gabby’s gear was never great until this Tier, and it still needs work, but I do usually try to top the absorbs meter in LFR)–I’m not a bad healer, I just don’t have the output because I don’t have the gear to push the numbers to be as respectable as I’d like.
I’d love to see a DPS/HPS check. Blizzard has all the data from our combat logs. They know what the expected output of a class is, and if it needs to be buffed or nerfed. What if they set a range with a high and a low and an average expectation? In order to roll on loot, you need to fall between the two points. This would require players to better themselves in order to benefit from LFR–improving themselves helps to improve the overall raid experience, making them a better team player and more willing to not AFK and be carried.
Same for healing, though I know that some people will do meter padding just to up their chances for loot. Healing will always be a sort of gray area, so I’m not quite sure how I’d handle it–I’d love to hear suggestions though!
Performance Based Loot Weights
When bonuses roll around in my company, we are weighed and measured against everyone else in our role. Our performance weights for the year versus our coworkers is what sets our bonus ranking. The process is called “Weighting and Ranking.” The better you do, the higher chance you are to get rewarded. The best contributors walk away with a 1.5 modifier on the company bonus amount, which nets them some additional cash for their effort. What it the same thing was in play in LFR? If you fall within the DPS/HPS scale, you get a better chance at loot? If you hit the median expected for your class, your role maintains the +100 modifier. But if you are close to top, you get a +150 modifier or something. And this is an adjusting scale–you don’t want to pass a lot of loot to someone in all Heroic Firelands gear, or maybe even in some Heroic Dragon Soul gear! Percentile based roll modifiers could be an interesting mechanic, though probably more of a headache to code than it’s worth.
My first weeks in LFR were plagued with people winning multiple tokens in one run. And let me say, I was really annoyed when 2 healing trinkets dropped off one boss and went to the same damn player. And then last week, I got lucky. I took my DK in for the first 4 bosses and picked up 3 Tier tokens and a BiS waist for him. Someone commented after we finished up Hagara, “Wait, did Azrael get 3 Tier tokens this run?!?” And honestly? I was rejoicing. I said in Mumble to guildies, “Well, I earned these.” And in some ways, I did. I maintained #4 on the Damage Done list for the entire raid. But then I thought back to the argument that I had made on Twitter early in 4.3: Once you win a token, your roll should be halved for any other class token that drops for you that run. If that was the case, I probably wouldn’t have made out like a bandit like I did on Azzy. Do I think it’s fair? Yes and no. I look at my performance (this was the run with the 7K DPS shadow priest) and say “I kicked ass and I’ve earned these tokens,” but how many other good performers lost out to me? RNG is a finicky mistress indeed.
Part of me thinks that this could be addressed with the performance modifiers I noted above, but I’m still unsure. One person shouldn’t walk away from LFR with 4 pieces of loot in 4 bosses, but there’s got to be a way to spread the wealth.
There needs to be a way to allow people who want to see the content on their own time, without a raid team, if they so choose. There needs to be a better way to police the ever growing list of griefers who are entering the LFR system specifically to mess with players. There needs to be a way to reward those who put forth effort. The old saying of “It’s my $15, I can play how I want!” can be easily refuted (in my mind) with the response of “Well, it’s the raid’s $360 so STFU and L2Play.” For progression, I have a raid team to run with. For my alts, I have LFR. I try to be a contributor not a hindrance.
I think LFR is a good concept, but it definitely needs work. I implore the WoW community to come up with creative ideas and share them with Blizzard so together, we can provide feedback from all different play styles to make the tool something we don’t think twice about using!
UPDATE: By the time I got around to publishing this, I’ve picked up 5 pieces of Tier on Raz in LFR: 2 pieces for Holy, and 3 pieces for Prot. I now run a 4pc Prot set and a 2pc Holy set for raids.
Really, what a long, strange trip it’s been! I never thought I’d last until the 20K mark on Twitter, much less be able to meet some of the most fun and loving people within the WoW community via Twitter!
So here we are, the infamous 20K. I pondered how I would celebrate this. I started watching my tweet count last weekend, knowing that I was getting closer and I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss it!
Since Twitter enabled me to share my blogging with the WoW community and expand beyond just Twitter, I figured a post here would allow me to share my thoughts with more than 140 characters!
The Guilds and Their Members
I can’t even begin to list all the people who have crossed my path since I started this roller coaster ride, but I’ve met 4 great guilds and had a blast with their members! A shout out to AF Guild, Waypoint, TTGF, and ES, 4 guilds that I’ve been able sprinkle characters in and have an absolute blast with their members! They allowed me to have fun in Warcraft again–which was a challenge since Cata started out as a very rocky road without a real home to settle in. Each of these guilds opened their doors to me, giving me a place to call home and to grow my abilities as a player and as a person. For this, I am forever grateful.
Dee, AKA Kirian
Most of all, I need to make a call out to my favorite sassy mage. Kirian’s keeper, Dee, has been a shoulder to cry on, comedic relief when I’m depressed, a source of calm when I panic, and the first person I talk to as I sit down at my PC with a cup of coffee. She has been my partner in crime in both PvE and PvP, a supplier of beautiful places with screenshot worthy views, and she knows when I just need to get away after a frustrating night of raiding. She is a truly beautiful person who I am blessed to know and each day I am thankful for that! One of my BlizzCon highlights was being able to sit down with her and talk lore and characters and everything else. She allows me to have fun and enjoy being cocky as hell with Raz before he gets smacked back down to reality by Kirian. It’s been hilarious to play the two characters off of each other and it’s made WoW that much more enjoyable for me🙂 Ironically, I think to a degree that in real life, we’re a lot like the characters we play, as I swear I saw her shaking her head at some of my antics at BlizzCon >.>
So thank you my Tweeps for sticking along for the ride, allowing me to meet some of the most fun members of the WoW community in one spot, having the ability to get together with you all at BlizzCon and to have an overwhelming desire to keep going back for more! Here’s to another 20K and even more friendships, fun, and excitement!
This was on my “To Do” list weeks ago, but I’m behind schedule (as usual), so I’m trying to play catch-up today (that, and I just don’t really feel like working the rest of the week)… – Miri
So on Dee’s blog, Raz was granted his own tag because he shows up every once in a while in her blog posts. I told her that Raz’s sassy Mage needed his own tag here on my blog, and that I’d do a blog post when I did it. So the tag has been created, and here’s the accompanying and promised blog post >.>
And in Raz’s typical fashion, the tag is designed to tease Kirian😉
Thanks to Morniel for coming up with a more “politically correct” version of LFR!
I’ll just let this speak for itself as a lead-in to my LFR discussion post that will come later this week…
I’d like to point out that I hadn’t pulled a boss yet, and had just zoned in to Ultraxion. Gotta love LFR where you’ll be told how to play your class. Really?!? I don’t think you need to tell me how to play a Prot Paladin…I think I’ve got that covered =P And if I have questions, I have Rhidach that I can harass in guild!